So You're reopening — Where to start with your promotions

As you’re planning the reopening of your casino, or even if you’re in the full swing of reopening, there’s no doubt your efforts have gone towards the best strategic approach. What will look the same as it did before? What will — and will have to — look different? How will your food and beverage service look? How about table games and slot machines? Will you be able to offer entertainment acts, and if not, when?

Today we’re taking a deep dive into how to shape your promotions when you are in the planning and early-execution stages of reopening. As always, you’re going to think about the guests first.

Start here: There will be two types of players that visit your casino: the Hesitant Gamer and the Excited Gamer. The Hesitant Gamer is just as his name sounds — he doesn’t want to be around large crowds, but he craves a night or day out for some fun, and he will be cautious in doing so. The Excited Gamer, on the other hand, is eager to get back to the fun and see his favorite slot attendant, get to his favorite machine, and start playing. When you begin thinking about your promotions, you’ll want to appeal to both types of gamers. This is why you need a plan.

Now, as usual, the planning part begins with your promotions calendar. Before, it probably looked a little something like this:

And guests probably flocked in for that large cash promotion on the weekends, Monday Money Day, and Two 4 Tuesday! Who WOULDN’T want to win a hundred thousand bucks or take advantage of that 2-for-1 lunch special or a brand-new, fully loaded truck? Well, it’s not going to be as easy as that… for a while, at least. A lot of things are going to look different once casinos reopen across the country. Capacities will be limited. Social distancing will be happening. People probably aren’t going to want to participate in a big cash bash or casino-wide celebration.

Now, you’ll want to think about when your guests are likely to visit and what they’re most interested in. If they’re Hesitant Gamers, your traffic may look a little like this:

People aren’t going to want to gather in large groups. Also, gatherings aren’t recommended at this time anyway.

So you’re going to have to look at scaling down on your promotions. That may seem counterintuitive to your bottom line, but it’s what is necessary at this time. Until things return to “normal” (whatever that means), things aren’t going to look how they used to. Here are some ways you can scale down while still offering prizes, promotions, and specials that guests will get excited about:

  • Two Senior Days instead of one (e.g., 55 – 65 Sunday, 65+ Monday)
  • Geographical promotions (Locals Day)
  • Gift cards with true value: “Buy now to support the community!” (Grocery stores, gas, small businesses)
  • Gift giveaways with several small-invite, small-time-window redemption times
  • Time-sensitive promotions
  • Winners can only win once
  • Winners will be contacted by phone or email
  • “Point Liability” promotions (redeem points for items)
  • Email giveaways to carded guests

Here at Red Circle, we’re continuing to brainstorm even more ideas and are happy to work with you to create promotions based on your target audience and database.

Now, it’s not impossible for you to hold your large-scale promotions. However, thinking that you’ll most likely be at around 60% traffic (as a guesstimate) because of capacity and the Hesitant Gamers (or those that simply choose not to come), you’ll want to think of ways you can still appeal to your guests with large-scale prizes and promotions. Here’s an idea: think about spreading them out over multiple days, as shown below.

This way, guests will have the opportunity to come in and participate over a few days’ time, rather than all at once. You may see more of the Hesitant Gamers Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and more of the Excited Gamers Fridays and Saturdays.

There are still a lot of unknowns, and by acknowledging that, we are able to understand that things are going to change. Because we are marketers and strategists, here at Red Circle we are considering every last factor and variable and working on ways to appeal to all — while keeping your business goals in mind.